What writer could let today pass without thinking about the enormous influence of Ray J Bradbury on the craft?
He had a huge impact on me and how I think about my writing. His ability to take anything and turn into inspiration for a story rubbed off on me quite dramatically. I would imagine he went through the same era of funny looks from his peers because of the tangents he could follow from the simplest of beginnings. He made me less afraid to pursue tangents and see what could become of them.
He made me less afraid to leave my readers with questions. But why did it happen? Just because. But what happens next? We don’t know – that’s in the future. Writing Bradbury style stimulates imagination, provokes thought and a hungry mind just loves it. For many it isn’t to taste. For many, being left with questions is an uncomfortable experience. To me that’s like expecting the writer to continue forever with the same story.
A writer is omniscient in the moment and the past. They don’t know the future of the characters. They only know where they left them. So why not say they waited to see. It’s no less frustrating than they all lived happily ever after. What’s happily? Did they fulfil all their dreams? Did they only live another fortnight? Did Cinders get pregnant and give birth to pumpkins? Everyone has an idea of what happily ever after is, but it’s based on individual hopes and experience. Why can’t ‘but it’s all over for now’ be the same?
What I learned most from Ray was to keep writing. He said, write and write – you can’t always create something bad. He’s right. The chances are that you will produce something good along the way. He was and still is an inspiration. I’d like to think I could channel him somehow, but I suspect he’d frown upon that. He’ll be sadly missed, but what a life to reach out and touch so many millions. Raise a glass to Ray J Bradbury and then write a short story about something you see when you do. To Ray…